Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, issued a statement on Tuesday, concurrent with the fifth anniversary of the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), describing it as “a historic multilateral achievement for global nuclear non-proliferation.”
“The JCPOA remains the only tool to provide the international community with the necessary assurances regarding Iran’s nuclear program… The full implementation of the JCPOA by all sides remains crucial,” Borrell said.
The deal was reached between Iran and a group of countries then known as the P5+1 — which included the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany — on July 14, 2015. However, in May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
Verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to honor their commitments and offset the impacts of the US withdrawal.
But, as the European parties continued to renege on their obligations, the Islamic Republic moved in May 2019 to suspend its JCPOA commitments under articles of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights in case of non-compliance by the other side.
Borrell said, “As the Coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, I am determined to do everything possible together with the remaining participants of the JCPOA and the international community to preserve the agreement.”
“We should not assume that an opportunity will arise again in the future for the international community to address Iran’s nuclear program in such a comprehensive manner,” he added.
His statement came days after he received a letter from Iran demanding the launch of the dispute resolution mechanism of the nuclear deal over the failure of the three European signatories to the agreement to honor their commitments.
Western countries had formerly accused Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program. Tehran long denied the allegation and ultimately negotiated with the six countries to prove it has a civilian program only. The JCPOA was the culmination of those negotiations.